Friday, April 4, 2014

OCBC gives Anne a pain in the butt

I thought I was the only one making noise about the short-sightedness of our consumer bankers when I posted my story yesterday about DBS Bank ("DBS leaves me breathless").
     Two days ago, my friend Anne Wong suddenly surfaced in my email to relate her unhappiness with OCBC online banking under the headline, "Mindset of Singapore bankers?"
     This was what she wrote:
"I have just got off the phone with a lady from the OCBC call centre.

Before writing this, I visited your blog to catch up on the latest before emailing about my lousy experience with OCBC (NOT the fault of the lady at the call centre but of the bank’s boffins).

It’s ironical that you have been having troubles with DBS and someone else was given the run around by HSBC. But timely too because OCBC is now giving me a severe pain in the butt!

Tonight I went to do my usual, regular transfer to cover outgoings for the next few months. Lo and behold, I could not effect the transfer of funds to an account because OCBC ONLY offers FAST transfers - at a much lower transaction limit.

Instead of adding the FAST transfer facility as an additional option, OCBC has replaced the previous transfer option with FAST but LESSER transfer!

So what’s one to do?

OCBC suggests splitting the transfer amounts -- which necessitates spending more time and effort to make the transfer than before!

Another alternative the call centre lady gave me was to make the transfer using the recurring or future dated facility. I had to inform her that when I went to the page for managing payees, I was faced with two options -- DELETE payee or ADD payee.

And when I clicked on managing recurring or future transfers, it said I had none registered!

In the last few years OCBC has made cosmetic changes, essentially to the presentation of information.

But now they have fiddled with what was not broken and, in the process, broken it.

I thought online banking was for the consumer’s convenience, but how convenient is it to make multiple FAST transfers instead of one ‘normal’ transfer?

The thought passed through my mind to change banks, but if HSBC and DBS are as muddle-headed as OCBC what are the choices? It would seem that the odds are stacked against meeting a bank that does basic banking well in Singapore!

And to think that today’s newspaper proudly proclaimed that Singapore students are tops at problem solving!

Are we declining faster than I feared?"
Well said, Anne.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

DBS leaves me breathless!

It's confirmed.  DBS Bank does not consider personal assets exceeding $2 million to be good enough to grant retirees credit limits above the regulatory norm for their credit cards even though the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has provided for this.

     And yet it says it is "in alignment with the MAS regulatory parameters on unsecured credit card limits."
     In his reply to my letter asking for an explanation why I could not qualify for a permanent credit limit increase, Mr Anthony Seow, the bank's executive director for Cards and Unsecured Loans, says:
    "A bank is indeed permitted to grant credit limits above the regulatory parameters on unsecured credit card limits of 2 months' or 4 months' income to a Singaporean cardholder whose total net personal assets exceed S$2 million or who receives an annual income of at least S$120,000.
     "Nonetheless, we also have in place further parameters that govern our respective credit policies and guidelines; these are proprietary to the Bank."
     Bottomline?  All retirees who do not have an annual income of $120,000 even though they may have assets worth more than $2 million, are not considered risk-worthy and therefore cannot get their credit limit increased without security.
    The bank does not care whether a retiree has been a customer for close to 50  years, a Treasures member since its inception (which means the bank would have utilised his  fairly substantial deposits over many years, paying pittance in interest) and has never defaulted on his credit card payments.
    Why is there  this prejudice against retirees who opt to take it easy as they have more than enough personal assets to see them through their sunset years?
    Why does the bank need to ask such people to place a minimum of $10,000 in fixed deposit as a security before it is willing to grant their requests? 
    Why isn't the trust reciprocated as these people have bank deposits that are worth much much more than the $10,000 being asked for? 
    Where is the convenience promised for Treasures members when a simple request like this one cannot be acceded to?
    The irony is that the bank is in fact making it more inconvenient by having its own "proprietory parameters" and yet has the cheek to declare that it is "in alignment with MAS regulatory parameters."
     What's even more annoying and mysterious is that the bank had never disclosed the MAS' criterion that it could grant our request based on personal assets until it was told to me by our regulators.
     From what I have experienced, DBS'  "Living, breathing Asia" tagline leaves me...breathless!!!